Suspended Pirates manager Clint Hurdle adjusts to life as spectator
Clint Hurdle has been a big league manager since 2001 and is in his ninth season at the helm of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Still, he got the chance to do something Friday night he had never done in his career.
He watched a game with his wife and kids.
Hurdle served the first game of a two-game suspension when the Pirates hosted the New York Mets on Friday night. He spent much of it with his family in a suite at PNC Park.
Hurdle said there was one glaring difference between watching a game surrounded by his coaching staff on the bench and surrounded by loved ones as a spectator.
“The focus,” he said with a grin. “There wasn’t a lot of focus in the suite with my kids and my wife.”
Hurdle said his daughter Madison was particularly happy that bench coach Tom Prince earned a win as fill-in manager and asked her dad if players would reward him for the accomplishment with a pie to the face.
He explained the pie in question is actually made out of shaving cream, and players generally offer congratulations with Gatorade showers these days.
Hurdle didn’t share too much information with his daughter, though.
“She has been a little concerned with the roster turnover, with the suspensions, how that’s going to work out,” Hurdle said. “I said, ‘We’ll work through that. I’ll let you know.’ You’re on a need-to-know-only basis right now.”
On a serious note, Hurdle said watching from the suite level gave him a reminder about the nature of big league ball.
“The game looks even easier up there than it does on TV. It looks way easy, and it’s not,” Hurdle said. “It’s a great reminder for me, how hard it is to play the game because of how easy it looks from that vantage point.
“I can see how, as a fan, it’s like me watching an NFL football game. I have all the answers. I know nothing about their systems or their rosters, but I’ve got plenty of answers for what goes on. You get to hear some of that. Last night I got to hear some of that going on. It’s interesting.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review assistant sports editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .